Saturday, 8 May 2010


Common Sandpiper on nest. Peter Guy.

Once again I am indebted to Peter Guy for the brilliant image of a Common Sandpiper on it's nest....Many thanks Peter.

The (CS) Common Sandpipers breeding in GB and wintering in West Africa are estimated at a rather uncertain 18,000 pairs, though another estimate is that of 24,000, but according to data from WeBS figures there is an indication of a decrease in numbers since the mid-1980's. Most of the migrant population passes through Southern Britain in March - May and July - October on its way between breeding sites in Scandinavia and wintering grounds in Iberia and North West Africa, British breeding birds have been recovered as far South as West Africa. Small numbers overwinter in GB and there are WeBS reports of 154 individuals at 105 sites between November 2004 and March 2005.

An overwintering site to add to the above figures is that of a bird which has wintered in our own locality at Conder Green in the winter's of 2008/9 and 2009/10 which is to be added to sites already known in this area which hold/have held wintering Common Sandpipers. Incidentally the closely related (SS) Spotted Sandpiper carries a record of a pair at Uig Bay, Skye in 1975 with a nest containing four eggs but the breeding attempt unfortunately failed, the species also carries records of 'several' wintering birds.

Spotted Redshank in winter plumage. Pete Woodruff.

Another bird regularly overwintering now at Conder Green is the (SR) Spotted Redshank, the unique wader which transforms from its winter coat of white - on its underparts - to its incredibly black breeding plumage in the summer. In fact this species can be seen at Conder Green almost all year round according to my records, for example it was absent from here only between 1 May - 20 June in 2008, and 18 May - 16 June in 2009.

I finally traced my Grey Wagtail records at Conder Green and I have been claiming not to have seen this species here for some time, in fact apparently I've not seen a Grey Wagtail at Conder Green since 23 January 2009 and that's heading up to 16 months ago....Mmmmm!         


Warren Baker said...

Grey wags are like buses - you find one and then then you keep seeing them! For a while anyway :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

I'm keeping my eye on the Grey Wagtail situation Warren but don't want to make comments without some more evidence at this point.